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11 February 2014

Parnell: 20 Years Before Corby

More than 20 years before Corby's case, Chris Parnell was sentenced to 20 years prison in Bali for drug trafficking after marijuana was found in his friend's hotel room. From 1985 he served 11 years before he was exonerated after Prime Minister John Howard intervened.

His story offers few parallels to what Corby experienced, though both served long sentences for crimes they denied committing.

Unlike Corby, Parnell was sentenced in the days before greater global scrutiny. No one campaigned for his release even though he was tortured, starved and went on hunger strikes in an effort to improve conditions in Kerobokan and other prisons.

Compared with his experience, which he has detailed in his book The Sunday Smuggler, Corby's prison experience was a luxury.

My experience was nothing like Schapelle's. She was never starved, she was never bashed or beaten, she never got solitary confinement, she never had guards come and beat her or calling her the white dog.

I forgot I was a white man in some of the places and prisons I went to. You never see your face. You forget who you are. She never had to go through that, she had visits from her family all the time. In the whole 11 years I was in prison I got three visits from my family. She got three visits a day. They can't say she had a hard time. I know what sort of time she had.

Parnell said the protests and efforts of prisoners in Bali during his time have helped improve conditions for Corby.

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